This generation has been good to us when it comes to the platform/puzzle genre, and this year has seen more invention, more innovation, and more entertainment than ever before. Rayman and Mario have returned firing on all cylinders, mind-bending indie darlings have taken the critical world by storm, and people are excited about the Vita again thanks to Media Molecule.
Antichamber is amazing. It throws players into a world of Euclidean, mind-bending puzzles, delighting and purposefully frustrating, challenging players to think in weird and wonderful ways. It's enormously rewarding, hair-tearingly obscure in places, but there are some absolutely fantastic eureka moments to be had here.
"It shouldn’t work, it shouldn’t be fun, but what Lucas Pope has crafted with Papers, Please is a pixelated triumph that blends point-and-click mechanics and a charming artstyle with increasingly fiendish observation puzzles. This is one indie game you should not miss. Glory to Arkstozka!"
Puppeteer is a masterpiece of craftsmanship, particularly when it comes to the striking visual design. The script could perhaps have done with a little more editing, and there are a few little pacing issues along the way, but Kutaro's journey is an utterly charming and gloriously imaginative affair, framed in superlative fashion.
"It's effortlessly charming, fiendishly challenging, mechanically sublime, and stuffed with enough content to keep us coming back for more long into the winter months. It's a blast solo or with friends, whether you're playing together directly, or trying to best one another's scores in asynchronous fashion in the challenges. Put simply, Rayman Legends isn't just one of the best platformers we've seen in twenty years, but one of the very best games. Absolutely stunning."
Stealth Inc's title may have been watered down, but this is otherwise a gorgeous and full-fat revamp of Curve Studios' majestically brutal stealth platformer. Vita owners should waste no time in jumping on board with one of the best (and only) exclusives of the summer, while cross-buying PS3 players have no excuse not to start dying, swearing and dying some more.
Super Mario 3D World
Every level boasts a new mechanic or feature, that's tossed aside almost immediately once the level is done. It never gets staid or boring, never loses its whimsy or charm, and Nintendo have managed to delight both solo players and the multiplayer crowd, with some fantastic level design that manages to capture the playful relationship between designer and player and translate that into something truly satisfying for multiplayer audiences.
If the Wii U has a killer app, this is it.
"Tearaway presents a charming and sumptuously beautiful adventure that begs to be played with, prodded, poked and tilted. Though there's scope for future games to make more of Tearaway's clever ideas, an irrepressible sense of fun and budget price point seal the deal. It's a Christmas cracker for the Vita that shows off both the system's power and potential for its lesser-used input methods."
"The Stanley Parable is one of the bravest, most anarchic, funniest and worthwhile games you'll play this year; as incisive, cutting and profound as you want it to be. An unpredictable recursive gem in which player agency is both supremely important and entirely non-existent. Once you've experienced it, you'll never look at videogames - or play them - in quite the same way again."
Best Platform/Puzzle Game 2013 | Rayman Legends
Another award category, another win for Rayman Legends. We'd pretend to be surprised, but it's inevitable. If craft a damn-near perfect game, it's difficult for anything, however good, to come close. By building upon the immaculate brilliance of Origins, Legends once again reminded us this year that its Ubisoft, no longer Nintendo, who continue to push the boundaries of innovation and excellence of the platforming genre.
If you love games at all, you'll have this in your library, whatever platform you're rocking.
Agree? Disagree? Did we get it wrong? Exercise your democratic right, cast your votes, and get stuck into the debate in the comments box below!